It’s hard not to learn self-hate in this day and age. A lot of harmful ideas have simply come to be seen as normal or even expected.
So you might look at people who seem to remain happy in life and wonder what’s their secret.
Well, it’s simple: self-acceptance.
And in this article, I will show you 10 ways you can accept and value yourself more.
1) Question why you feel bad
We don’t simply feel self-hate or suffer from insecurities for no real reason.
You might look in the mirror and be unhappy at what you see, for example, because you think you look ugly.
Or perhaps you might feel like a freak for crushing on the “wrong” people.
Take a step back and try to ask yourself why instead of beating yourself up for being strange.
Why do you think you’re ugly? Maybe it’s because your bullies in high school tease you for having a big nose…or that your siblings used to make fun of your looks.
Why do you think it’s wrong to crush on someone of the same sex or a different religion? Maybe it’s because you’ve been conditioned by your religion to choose the “right” partner.
Ask yourself these questions until you have your answers. You’ll be surprised that most of them have nothing to do with YOU.
2) Be accepting of others
Perhaps in trying to understand and appreciate others, you might just come to learn to love yourself more, too.
It’s like magic. Accepting yourself will make it easier for you to accept others. Being open-minded is a feedback loop that only reinforces itself the longer you try to live by it.
So whenever someone shares an idea, lives a certain lifestyle, or does things that you don’t understand (and might even feel a bit uncomfortable about), take a deep breath and try to stay calm.
Try to shove aside any discomfort you might feel and try to really sit down and listen.
Try to see things the way they see them and then ask yourself “Well, what’s so wrong with that?”
3) Give yourself some TLC
Caring for your mind and body does a lot in making you feel better about yourself.
There’s a reason why people who throw themselves into work without setting aside time for rest and relaxation end up miserable.
If your body is tired, take a nap. If your mind is starting to ache, distract yourself by taking a short tea break or by petting the cat nearest to you.
Not only will these things make it easier for you to think clearly, simply making sure you get ample rest will help improve your mood in general…which means, you get to avoid getting sucked into negative thoughts and self-hate, and find it easier in general to be kind to yourself.
4) Challenge your inner critic
We all have that little voice in the back of our heads that’s all too eager to nitpick on every single thing we do.
You might want to buy a violin, for example, only to stop and reconsider because that voice in your head is reminding you of how you bought a guitar only to never actually learn it.
Or perhaps you might think of dating someone, only for your inner critic to tell you that there’s no way people will agree to go on a date with you—not when you still haven’t sorted your life out!
But listen. What if you failed to learn a guitar, and what if you aren’t a perfect person?
Maybe guitars just didn’t vibe with you and you’re better off with a violin. That, and there might be a chance they’ll turn you down… but at the same time, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
So challenge your inner critic. Defy it when it tries to convince you that you can’t do this or that… and instead tell yourself you can.
5) Try to discover yourself
You shouldn’t just stop at just challenging yourself whenever you feel bad about something. You should also go a step beyond and try to discover (or re-discover) yourself.
It’s important that you develop a habit of questioning yourself and seeing the world with an open mind if you are to do this in earnest.
You need to be free to think, after all, if you want to truly discover yourself.
So go out and try new things. Dive into communities related to what you think you might like, and see who you end up getting along with. Listen to people share their perspectives, and see whether you feel you can relate.
You might be surprised at how little you actually know yourself, and yet in the same vein be surprised at how much you already know about yourself deep inside.
6) Don’t be shy to show your weirdness
Do you hate how you want to learn how to do art, but you’re scared people would think you’re too crazy?
Well, screw that. Just keep drawing art and showing it off to the world. Expressing yourself is more important than others opinions about it.
Do you hate the way your face looks because people say you are not “conventionally attractive”? Then screw that too! Go out and let everyone know that you love your unconventional features. It’s what makes you stand out.
Hell, don’t be afraid to go out and talk about how you have “weird” hobbies and interests. Whoever you are, express yourself loudly and proudly.
You will have people who will criticize you no matter what you do. Just ignore them and keep trucking along. You’re much freer than you think.
7) Set boundaries
This one can seem a bit hard at first, especially if you think you don’t deserve it.
If a handsome guy approaches you (but he’s clearly not your type), you might find it hard to say no to his advances when you feel you’re unpretty.
And when you’re a newbie artist and some people want to share your work on their social media, it’s hard for you to say no to them sharing it (even if you’re very uncomfortable being exposed this way) because you’re scared they’d think you’re simply being ungrateful.
Set your boundaries down and it will help you realize just how liberating it feels to choose yourself.
Always remember: you do NOT need to tolerate things you hate and it’s totally okay to simply ask people to respect your boundaries.
8) Surround yourself with people who support you
We humans are a social species. Even the most introverted and withdrawn among us can’t live a life of complete isolation—they would quickly go insane!
It should perhaps come as no surprise that the opinions and attitudes of the people around you will do a lot for your mental state.
That’s why you should hang around people who are supportive of who you are and what you do. Hang around people who would rather build people up when they fail instead of trying to dress them down.
This will help make it easier for you to explore your identity and find your own self-worth. It will also make failure feel less intimidating, and more like the stepping stone to success.
9) Minimize your time around people hostile to you
As you should try to surround yourself with people who will understand and affirm who you are, you should also try to distance yourself from people who you know are hostile towards you… or might be.
People who would try to offer “criticism”, for example, except that their criticism is nothing less than thinly-veiled insults.
You might also want to avoid hanging out with people who make it their personality to go and mock things they don’t even understand—bigots, in other words.
If you can’t cut contact off completely, simply placing some distance between you and them helps a lot in keeping your self-confidence from dropping through the floor.
10) Avoid comparing yourself with others
One of the easiest ways you can kill your self-confidence and convince yourself that everything you do is futile is… well, comparing yourself with other people.
There’s many reasons why this is bad.
First of all, everyone has different weaknesses and strengths. For example, you might be good at math while a colleague of yours is good at noticing patterns.
Of course you’re probably not going to get as good at recognizing patterns as they are, as an example.
And even if you have comparable skills, they likely have already gotten a headstart and as you keep getting better and better, you’re left seeing those drones whizzing about above your head.
All of us suffer from insecurities and self-hate to some degree, and you can basically guarantee that many of the social norms we have come to simply expect were actually responsible for why you suffer from poor self-esteem, self-hate, and perhaps even denial of who you are.
That’s why learning to love yourself is not something that can simply be learned overnight.
There are a lot of many smaller things you need to deal with.
Thankfully, even if the first few steps might be daunting, practicing all the things I’ve listed above isn’t at all that hard. They’re a bunch of smaller things that come together to create a big impact on your life.
And, slowly, one day you’ll just realize that you’ve been loving yourself more.